In Which the Unthinkable is Thunk
Is it possible for the United States to break up, either de facto or formally?
I wonder. The country is not a happy place. Today it is more consciously and resentfully divided, politically, regionally, racially and by sex and class than perhaps ever before. The rich prosper and the middle class sink. Three major racial blocs eye each other with fear and hostility. The hard left controls the media and government against the desires of much of the country, enforcing social engineering that is deeply disliked. Feminists make war on men, and destroy the schools and universities. Washington is widely loathed. Rules, laws, and regulations never voted on grow ever more burdensome and intrusive. Many quietly want out. The question is how to get there.
A breakup will not come by armed secession. We tried that, with poor results. It will come, if it does, by gradual degrees, by inadvertence, by quietly ignoring the central government, by incremental defiance. This has begun. Whether it will continue remains to be seen.
It is not clear that the feds could prevent it. How powerful, really, is Washington? Consider. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, yet Colorado and Washington state made it legal, and got away with it. The feds did not arrest the governors or send troops. Since then, Alaska and Washington DC have legalized weed. Other states seem poised to follow. Unless Washington does something dramatic and soon, the states will learn that they can simply ignore the feds.
Who might like to secede? Most conspicuously, Latinos. In four states—California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico—Latinos either have or will soon have a demographic majority, which means that eventually they will have a voting majority.
This doesn´t mean that white and brown will be locked in mortal political combat. In much of the country Latinos and whites get along reasonably well. It means that Hispanic influence, already potent, will become more so. It may (or may not) mean that Latinos, like blacks, will clump together in such numbers and concentrations that they will have little contact with whites and little incentive to assimilate. Why would they? They like their civilization, food, music, and culture. What they want in America is prosperity.
To generalize but not, I think, excessively, Hispanics have more in common with Mexico that with Washington. Whites in many Western states have little in common with Washington and the Northeast.
Now, here things become interesting. Illegal immigration is, clearly, illegal—yet a black President and attorney general, probably from racial hostility to whites, are doing all they can to increase the Hispanic population of the US. But how could any President stop it? Too many interests have a stake in continuing it. Building a fence along the border is fantasy, as is revoking birthright citizenship. The influx will continue, and new children will not be deportable. They will eventually vote.
The consequence, now inevitable, is that the Southwest will become more Mexican than American. The larger a minority population, the harder to make it do things it doesn’t want to do.
California now issues driver’s licenses to illegals. The police are not allowed to ask about status of immigration. There is talk of allowing illegals to vote in municipal elections, which will speed Mexicanization. These and similar measures come close to making them citizens of California, while not of America.
The drip-by-drip empowerment of Latinos advances apace. The New York Times: “LOS ANGELES — California is challenging the historic status of American citizenship with measures to permit noncitizens to sit on juries…and to open the practice of law even to those here illegally. It is the leading edge of a national trend that includes granting drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in some states ….”
New York ponders a similar law.
Defiance of federal law grows common. For example, “Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) says Chicago is the friendliest immigrant city in the nation since they, “made sure that we no longer cooperate with immigration authorities when it comes to the deportation or separation of our families.”
A US congressman, and a US president, defy federal law. This is an ungluing of note.
What can Washington do if states and regions simply go their own way? If large numbsr of people stop paying income taxes, say? One tax evader can be arrested. Fifty thousand cannot. A problem for the feds is that if a state’s police decline to enforce federal laws, the feds have to do it themselves, and they don’t have the manpower. Passive resistance is hard to prosecute, gradualism offers scant pretext, rising generations seem less concerned about immigration than their elders, and a forcible response from Washington would entail frightful political risks.
So as the Fatal Four southwestern states become ever more Latino, what if they de facto eliminate the border with Mexico? They wouldn’t describe it that way. They probably wouldn’t describe it at all. They would just ignore sovereignty. In a globalizing world, the very idea of sovereignty seems less important that it once did. I will guess that the young, who will one day be older, care less than their elders about national identity.
How then would Washington enforce its will? Send the Army? Bomb Los Angeles? Them as has the numbers gets their way. And are getting it.
The result could easily be a de facto integration with Mexico—businesses operating on both sides of the border as if there were no border, a completely free flow of people, and the like.
In the past the rock-solid unity of the United States existed because people wanted it. The foundation was a largely uniform white, Christian, European culture which no one thought about because there was no reason to think about it. Minorities were minor enough that they had to conform to the dominant culture. People shared ideas of morality, education, crime, music, religion, dress, manners, and patriotism.
That unity is gone forever. The old, functioning system has been replaced, not by another functioning system, such as that of Japan, China, or Korea, but by civilizational chaos. A law of human behavior is that people want to live among people like themselves. Another is that they do not like being ruled from afar by people they detest. Who likes Washington today?
Another possibility of secession lies in the South. Mississippi, the darkest state, is thirty-seven percent black. Although we are not permitted to say it, the racial hostility of blacks toward whites is intense. While whites will (now, anyway) vote for a black candidate over a white—which is how we got Obama—blacks vote as a bloc for black candidates. (If memory serves, Obama got 93% of the black vote.)
Should the black percentage in Mississippi grow to a tipping point, then, when whites bail out (which is usually what happens though we are not supposed to say this either), the state would become a self-governing country within a country—dependent on federal subsidies, yes, but having no loyalty to or culture in common with white society. It would not, methinks, feel an urgent need to obey federal laws.
Tell me I’m crazy. But wait twenty years.
Anyone interested in what Mexico is and is not would do well to read Manana Forever by Jorge Castañeda. Not a puff book, just accurate.
- For a different take on Moslems from my good (Jewish, actually) friend and former jittebug partner Judith Podell, try Yemen Blues.